The picture of the house (at the top) was taken, I think, at the turn of the nineteenth century and the person on the front step, I like to think, is Mrs Robson, the doctor’s wife.
The search has been made more difficult by the fact that house numbers changed mid 19th century – so it started out as no.42 Bondgate Without before eventually becoming no.20. If you look closely at the photo of the house you can see what looks like a mark in the middle of the blocked up window on the first floor. The window was unblocked in the late 1970′s and the mark (which is a fire insurance plaque) was moved to just above the newly opened window.
The plaque was issued by the Newcastle Fire Office, which was established in 1783, but this probably dates from the 1840′s according to Aviva’ s archivist. It’s been a bit battered but the name ‘Newcastle’ is clearly visible although the 3 towers are not that clear now.
There’s plenty more research to do but it will have to wait until quieter times but I’m looking forward to filling in some of the details as it is the details that make this history search so fascinating. For example, we know from relatives of Bertie Trevor-Roper that the house was one of the first in Alnwick to have a telephone installed and the telephone number was Alnwick 2 – guess who had the number Alnwick 1!